Before they close the door

Published 6:46 am Wednesday, September 30, 2009

“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one.” —William Faulkner

Liz Cheney said recently, “Mr. President, in a ticking time-bomb scenario, with American lives at stake, are you really unwilling to subject a terrorist to enhanced interrogation to get information that would prevent an attack?”

This Liz is not a “he” but she is acquainted with one. I doubt that women would have been completely ruthless. I’m not sure Ms Cheney is a writer, but she could be. The closest female, up until this recent comment to Obama, may be Rep. Bachman in the cities, the same Bachman that latched onto George W. Bush after sharing his state of the union message when he was re-elected when Ms. Bachman moved in on him as he made his way through the crowd.

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Katherine Kersten could be a contender.

Enhanced interrogation is a softer way of saying what prisoners are up against or insurgents. And I’m sure there was an argument around the Bush, Cheney campfire when decisions were moved into place that included “enhanced interrogation” that no doubt was not satisfying to all the President’s men.

I have to think Colin Powell was opposed to this and maybe that led to his departure, the same man who spoke out during conflict at the border of Kuwait and Iraq. I think initially that was about Kuwait drilling oil from Iraq. That’s according to a book I read by Pierre Salinger.

And one has to wonder where we go from here. Mr. Gates I see is now saying we cannot turn back or downsize like what happened to the Soviet Union’s attempt in Afghanistan. I would not like to see the war in Afghanistan continue forever. I also have trouble with our destructive missile devices flying over Afghanistan and Pakistan launching them from a weapon system operating in these two countries directed by advanced missile technology operated from the states.

It saves American lives, but it doesn’t end a war. And now we are on the caution of strikes in our own country from “soldiers” here from the “other side.” Soldiers who were civilians living here that left Minneapolis, some of them to go back home to fight in their birth country and now are making their way back here possibly putting our own people in harms way again.

Secretary Robert Gates warned Sunday when he said “setting a deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan would be a mistake that could lead to disastrous defeat for the United States.” The Soviet Union’s run in Afghanistan lasted years before they pulled out when we were a source of weapon power that helped make this happen as we supplied weapon power to the other side.

Then there’s Bob Dylan growing older and coming out with a Christmas album with the proceeds going to help those in need. Lately I have been reading a book Bruce Heiny borrowed to me of encounters with Bob Dylan, “If You See Him, Say Hello.”

The stories begin in 1961 and right now I’m looking at a story from 1977. This chapter is titled “As I Went Out One Morning.” It ends in 1999. One of the last lines in the book shares the lines “Some trains don’t pull no gamblers,/No midnight ramblers like they did before,/I’ve been to sugar town, I shook the sugar down,/ Now I’m tryin’ to get to Heaven/Before they close the door.”

The book offers 50 first-person accounts of fans who have had a close encounter with Dylan. One of Austin’s closest encounters that I’ve mentioned before is the photo of Dylan and his bass player riding their Harleys down Broadway in Rochester that is on display in Grinders, the cozy luncheon place kiddy-corner from Pacelli High School. If you stop by don’t forget to try one of those little bars they offer beside the famous grinders.

So much for the warm weather, the colder weather has come to town pushed by the north wind from wherever it has been hiding. All the acorns around the house are gone.

And now the leaves are taking flight, some of them ganging up in leaf packs and running off together down the street.

I think we need to be grateful for the summer that spread itself into fall and sharing some of the nicest weather we’ve had.  Now we can ease into winter as the darkness spreads way out.